DBE and ACDBE Regulations to be Modernized by DOT

This changes will help disadvantaged businesses in bidding on government funded projects.

Source : Contractor News

April 17, 2024

Author : Alex Bustillos

The work that started almost four decades ago continues to be strengthened—the efforts to right the wrong and reduce discrimination in access to government-funded construction projects. 

The goal is to provide small and disadvantaged businesses owned by women, minorities, and other socially and economically backward communities with access to federally funded projects.

On April 9th, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that it had given the final seal of approval to upgrade the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and the Aiport Concessions DBE (ACDBE).

The current features of these congressionally mandated programs include improving provisions for the benefit of program participants, reducing burdens on firms and recipients, growing firm capacity and owner wealth, and improving program integrity, visibility, and data collected by the USDOT.

One major change is that the personal net worth requirement for program members will be raised to $1.6 million from $1.32 million. If business owners surpass the limit, they are disqualified from participating in the DBE program. The department last increased the maximum in 2011, when it was $750,000.  

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted that retirement assets would be excluded from the personal net worth provision, the limit would be adjusted according to inflation, and the duration used to calculate the company’s size would automatically be adjusted from three to five years.

The government is also expediting the certification process by allowing certifiers who interview small enterprises to make virtual visits rather than on-site visits. This will save the DOT time and money, approximately $20,000 in trip costs, and reduce application processing time by 10%. 

The program is operated by 53 transportation departments (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands), over 500 transit agencies, and 3,200 eligible airport sponsors, 400 of whom also operate an ACDBE program. According to reports, there are nearly 50,000 recognized DBEs and 3,500 certified ACDBEs, and many of them work on federally funded aviation, roadway, and transit projects, as well as airport concession opportunities.

“Through this rule change, we’ve addressed many of the challenges DBEs and ACDBEs have faced over the years, and we’re excited that these businesses can now more efficiently and effectively compete for infrastructure projects and airport concessions – something that’s especially important now as President Biden leads the biggest investment in American infrastructure in generations,” explained Buttigieg.

Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Department of Transportation Diversity Outreach

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